Many beginners may not know that there is more than one way to strike in a game. Too often I see bowlers in my league throw the same shot every week and never make any adjustments. I personally think to take your game to that next level, you need to be able to play three strike lines and be an excellent spare shooter, if you want to get to that next level. I’m not saying you won’t have successful days, but what I am saying is if you want to be successful every time you step foot on the lanes, you will need to be able to shoot three strike lines. The three strike lines I am referring to are the Inside Line, the Track or Middle Line, and the Outside Line. I have attached a picture at the end of the article to give you a better visual of the three strike lines.
The first line I will discuss is the Outside Line. The outside line is great for beginners. It can be useful to throw this line when there is an extreme amount of oil on the lane. Most oil patterns will be drier on the outsides of the lanes and have more oil as they work into the middle of the lane. Some positives to throwing this line is that you are less likely to leave splits and speed is not as important as hitting your mark. Some negatives to playing this line would be that you are more likely to leave the ten pin due to the angle at which the ball enters the pocket. Another disadvantage to playing this line is if you miss your target by a few boards you will more than likely NOT strike.
The second line I will discuss is the Track, or Middle Line. The reason this line is called the Track is because this is where most league bowlers will choose to play on a typical house shot oil pattern. This line requires the bowler to hook the ball a little more and will increase the angle at which the ball enters the pocket, which increases your chance to strike. To do this you should add the best bowling ball for hook. One of the benefits to playing this line is that hitting your target is not as important. Playing this line, you have the ability to miss your mark by a few boards and if your speed is correct you will still strike. Most times this will be a great option for your average league bowler, with a typical house shot oil pattern. The reason for this is because the outside of the lane is dry, so if you miss outside, your ball will grab early and head towards the pocket. The same is true if you miss inside. Because there is more oil, it will typically hold a straighter line to the pocket. The only disadvantage to playing this line is that many bowlers throw this line in league, so you will need to make adjustments on the lane sooner than someone who plays the inside or outside line.
The last line I will discuss is the Inside Line. This line is not thrown by a lot of league bowlers, but is thrown by a lot of the professionals on the tour. There are many advantages to throwing this line, but cannot be thrown by every player. To play this line you will need more aggressive equipment and will need to have a lot of revolutions in order to get the ball back to the pocket. As I said earlier, the greater the angle your ball comes into the pocket, the better your chances are to strike. This line gives you the greatest angle to the pocket, and best possibility to strike. This line also gives you the biggest margin for error as long as the speed is right. However, this line does have some disadvantages as well. Playing this line, speed is crucial because you cover more of the lane on this shot. If you are slow, you will drive through the nose and if you are fast, you may flag the head pin or leave a nasty split. So although this gives you the greatest chance to strike because of the entry angle, if your speed is off it could be detrimental to play this line.
Now that you know the three lines of bowling for strikes, it is up to you to find out which line will work with the equipment you have and the lane conditions that are there. Also remember that no two lanes are exactly the same and you may need to make minor adjustments off of your line. Next week I will discuss some of the moves I make on the lane to improve my score!
Until next time, Shred that Rack!
Another really great article! After reading, made me realize that I’ve grown too comfortable with my line (Outside) and it’s become my safety zone. I look forward to learning how to get into the other lines, but as a beginning bowler I grow frustrated with dumping the ball and trying to learn to hook it more. I think that’s why I’ve gotten too comfortable with the outside line and have not learned to bowl the other 2 styles. Guess it’s back to practice!! =D